Incandescent bulbs, which produce light by way of a tiny heated coil of tungsten wire, are the most popular, but least efficient light bulb on the market. To save money and energy, consider replacing your home’s incandescent light bulbs with more efficient bulbs, such as CFLs or LEDs.
Halogen, or energy-saving incandescent, bulbs feature a heat-reflecting gas filling and inner coating. Together, these two elements keep the light-generating tungsten filament hot with less electricity. While not as efficient as CFL and LED lighting technology, halogens do provide excellent color quality and are a good alternative to traditional incandescents.
Low Voltage Halogen
A special class of low voltage halogen lamps has become popular in homes for accent and kitchen lighting. They provide very high light output and a sharply defined, well controlled beam spread.
Low voltage halogen lamps are available primarily in the miniature reflector or “”MR”" designs. Since they operate at low voltage, they do require a special transformer. A common configuration is a track that attaches to the ceiling, wall or sometimes even the floor, where the heavy transformer “head” containing the lamps can be moved back and forth, adjusted, aimed, and even removed.
Incandescent reflector lamps (Type R) are designed to direct and spread light over particular areas. This technology is featured primarily in spotlighting, floodlighting and downlighting. Two types of reflector lamps exist: parabolic aluminized (Type PAR) and ellipsoidal (Type ER).
Type PAR lamps are used for outdoor floodlighting. Type ER lamps project light downward from recessed fixtures, and are two times as effective as Type PARs for recessed lighting.
Standard Incandescent Lamps
Standard incandescent lamps, or screw-in “A”-type bulbs, are the most popular, but least efficient on the market. They vary in performance depending on their wattage. If you prefer a bulb that provides great lighting quality, burns cooler, uses less energy and saves money, consider switching to CFLs or LEDs.